What makes a good wingman?

Command a squadron of spaceships
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Sketchy
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What makes a good wingman?

Post by Sketchy » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:52 pm

Everyone has their own ideas on the type of custom ships they like to fly, but what about the ships you give to your wingmen...?

* Do you make all-purpose ships, or specialized scouts / interceptors / attack ships? (note: it would be so much better if attack ships could be designated as such, and only target static installations, rather than getting mixed up in dogfighting)
* Do you make ships that are effective against other fighters, or would you rather they didn't steal your kills?
* Do you make ships that are more defensively oriented so they don't die, or attack oriented so they get some kills and then hyperspace out / die?
* Do you give them Daycorn missiles so they can hit the enemy, or Drachans to make sure they don't hit you?
* Do you give them more Launchers so they can attack effectively, or fewer so they don't run out of missiles and go home early?
* Do you give them lots of Stealth so they survive a long time, or do you want them to be easily detected to draw some enemy fire away from you?
* What are the most important factors out of: agility, firepower, durability, scanning, stealth?
* Which of the pre-existing ship designs make the best wingmen?
* How expensive are the ships your wingmen fly, and do you prefer many cheap wingmen, or just a few more expensive ones?
* Any other thoughts?

TheKangaroo
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Post by TheKangaroo » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:04 pm

I never made ships specifically for wingman duties, so they basically get the same I do. In general I prefer a Scout class (or equivalent) ship on the far end of my squadron so no enemy squadrons will slip past me unnoticed, which is a constant problem of mine in escort missions. For strike missions I often go for Falcon class ships in my squadron to prevent running out of killing power, especially when I get caught up in dogfights.

the space predator
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Post by the space predator » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:46 am

I have alway a wingman whit a lot of radar, but the other, it doesn't really matter. Sometimes for some mission I made some choice, exemple: Destroy a starbase, I take a bomber... Also, I make sure that they have a lot of missile.
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Legacy
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Post by Legacy » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:06 am

I have several Drachan-armed support fighters that I sometimes pilot, but which are mostly for wingmen. They tend to take the armor and equipment approach, rather than the spare repair bot and command center technique.
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Post by shrike » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:05 pm

I prefer to not give my wingman more than two missile launchers. This increases my lifespan while flying near them, and stops them from wasting a bazillion missiles on weaker targets (usually).

If you are looking to increase your wing mate's chances at survival, try a lot of stealth. Flying stealth heavy ships, my wing mates rarely die more than once every six or seven missions.

As has already been mentioned, using wing mates as mobile radar suites is not a bad idea either, and especially helps on missions where you have to track down a single, slow moving ship.

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Post by umeboshi110 » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:18 pm

using more wingmen is fun, but i find that cheaper ships really can't stand up to the stronger enemies. also, i usually use a radar guy but the use of radars inherently makes it weaker and more susceptible to death. i also usually don't give drachans to my fighter wingmen, they just don't cut it in a fierce dogfight.
i'm also finding that you shouldn't use too many missile launchers for your guys, but sometimes you need firepower. i prefer survivability to offense, as it doesn't bode well with me when they keep dropping like flies, but the mission objective is more important. it's best to make them as good as they can be so they can kill more enemies quickly to reduce their total strength in a large fight, as well as be effective throughout the battle. oftentimes you'll need decoy-like ships in defense missions too, not just stealthy guys who will let some enemies through to any vulnerable targets.
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the space predator
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Post by the space predator » Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:47 pm

A lot of missile launcher is a mistake, but a lot of missile is a good choice. have a wingman that will survive bu that have only 5 missile is not really useful
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Post by Fusion_power » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:22 am

Here is what you have to consider. As you play the game, it gets progressively harder and the enemy becomes harder to kill. Your wingmen have to change to meet the varying conditions. Here are some of the ways to beat the odds.

1. Design attack wingmen with plectrons and a few daycorns. Give them either a lot of turning or a lot of speed. They will have to have it to survive for long. As you get to missions above 100, you will need wingmen with pregressively more armor and eventually with lots of stealth. My choices to meet this need are usually to make wingmen of some of the ships I prefer to fly but usually they are lesser designs than I am flying at the time. This biases the game so that the wingmen are less likely to kill me.

2. Design dogfighting wingmen with lots of turning and moderate speed. Give them lots of daycorns and a few genees. Don't give them oriks because they have an annoying habit of shooting you if they have them.

3. Never design a wingman with less than 3 missile launchers. This can be the difference between winning and losing in many missions.

4. Use an appropriate strategy for each possible mission. Static target missions require more plectrons or yataris. Dogfighting missions require speed/turning and daycorns.

5. Learn when to spread your wingmen. Often, the difference in a mission is the moment at which you tell them to search for the enemy.

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Sketchy
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Post by Sketchy » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:00 am

In my experience, it's no good trying to have separate attack and dogfighting ships.
You have no control over their actions (they even ignore the "stay in formation" order), and the AI isn't smart enough to prioritize targets. The end result is that attack ships will always end up dogfighting, and fighters may end up attacking static targets too. There's also no guarantee that the ships you want will even be available at the start of the mission - you could easily get stuck with only dogfighters on an attack mission.
These are two of the biggest flaws in CM.

I actually prefer wingmen to be quite ineffective. I want them to survive a long time (so they need a lot of missiles & armor), I want them to be able to spot stealthy enemy ships (esp. when there's that one last ship hiding somewhere), and I want them to draw some enemy fire - that's all.

It's actually a good thing if they don't kill enemy ships, because that leaves more for me, improving my chances of a Gold Cross.
Even if there are more enemies than you can handle on your own, you can always just destroy the wing leader and the rest of his buddies will hyperspace.

There's actually a very narrow window where wingmen are useful (plus the "destroy coloniser" mission) - in the early missions there aren't enough enemy ships, so you can't afford for your wingmen to be stealing kills, and then once you can afford a ship costing 150+ you can easily win any mission without them.

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Post by the space predator » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:50 pm

Sketchy wrote:In my experience, it's no good trying to have separate attack and dogfighting ships.
You have no control over their actions (they even ignore the "stay in formation" order), and the AI isn't smart enough to prioritize targets. The end result is that attack ships will always end up dogfighting, and fighters may end up attacking static targets too. There's also no guarantee that the ships you want will even be available at the start of the mission - you could easily get stuck with only dogfighters on an attack mission.
These are two of the biggest flaws in CM.


A good points. If you don't give "stay in formation" order during the first turn of the mission, your wingmen will ignore it.

Sketchy wrote:I actually prefer wingmen to be quite ineffective. I want them to survive a long time (so they need a lot of missiles & armor), I want them to be able to spot stealthy enemy ships (esp. when there's that one last ship hiding somewhere), and I want them to draw some enemy fire - that's all.


yes, I think you are close to the perfect wingman.
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TheKangaroo
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Post by TheKangaroo » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:58 pm

In my experience they don't actually ignore the order, they're just having a hard time following it, mainly for two reasons: first, evasive manoeuvres take priority over your order (which makes some sense to me at least) and second, they can't see your steering arrow like you can't see theirs; they can only react to your course changes after they see them and that makes staying even in loose formation while engaged a nightmare. Fly straight - and importantly not at maximum speed - for a few rounds and they'll form up again unless they're being shot at.

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Post by davidbofinger » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:29 am

My take on wingcritters:

I assume the objective of the mission is to get another Gold Cross. That being what the high score list keeps track of. Therefore:

* You need to kill bad guys. Lots of bad guys. A well-piloted player-controlled ship can butcher helpless AIs with great efficiency. To do this you need to be able to see bad guys.

* How many bad guys you need to kill to get a Gold Cross depends on your ship's price tag. Therefore, you need to keep your ship cheap. You also want it manoeuvrable. It has to be robust (adequate shields and spare command points) so the pilot doesn't suffer a freak accident on his/her climb up the greasy pole of Gold Cross collection. But aside from that your ship has to be austere. Anything it doesn't really need should be transferred onto some other ship, both to improve manoeuvrability and minimise price tag. The leading candidate for that is sensors: fly something half-blind and let the wingcritters be your eyes.

* The last thing you want is for the wingcritters to kill all the bad guys. At most it might be necessary for the wingcritters to kill a few bad guys. It helps if they damage bad guys without killing them, if that's practical, which it likely isn't. So don't make them fighter-killers.

* You also want to succeed at the mission. That will often mean bombing basically static targets. The player ship may not be able to afford the ammo to kill all these static targets. Succeeding at the mission may also require finding things.

* It doesn't matter hugely if a wingcritter dies at the end of a mission, but not at the start please.

The natural split of responsibility, then, is that wingcritters carry out surveillance, recon and some bombing, while the player ship kills enemy fighters and bombs with any spare ammo. Every wingritter should be a scout as its primary role, with some bombing capability and an anti-fighter capability third. Wingcritters can be relatively fragile, though not absurdly so, whereas player ships have to be robust.

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